Drive is on to stub out youth smoking
Councillor Iain McLaren; Kirsten Halliday (Trading Standards Officer); Sergeant Allan Dickson; Amy Gibson (13); Michael Healy (14); Rosie Gibson (14); PC Lauren Bradley; Helen Douse (West Dunbartonshire Health & Social Care Partnership); Ronnie Harper (West Dunbartonshire Working4U Development Officer).
West Dunbartonshire Trading Standards is supporting a national campaign which targets adults who buy cigarettes for young people.
Following a number of successful actions, including banning tobacco advertising, price increases and raising the age of purchasing cigarettes to 18, the proportion of young people in Scotland who smoke has fallen to the lowest level since surveys began. However, 36 young people under 16 still take up smoking every day in Scotland.
Most children who smoke get their tobacco from friends, family and other people they know. Often these adults think they are “doing them a favour.”
In response, the ‘Not A Favour’ campaign makes it clear that helping anyone under-age to get hold of cigarettes is helping them into addiction, ill health and financial problems.
The campaign has been developed by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Scotland, with Scottish Government funding and strong support from Trading Standards representatives.
Supporting the launch of the campaign in West Dunbartonshire, the Council’s Convener of Corporate Services, Councillor Ian Dickson, said: “In Scotland, we’ve made great progress on reducing the number of people who smoke. However, there are still too many young people taking up the habit. Adults sometimes buy cigarettes for those who are too young to legally do so themselves and that is something that simply has to stop.”
Councillor Iain McLaren, Vice Convener of Corporate Services, added: “This campaign aims to push home the message that smoking can lead to health, money and addiction problems and that the younger people start smoking, the harder they find it to give up later in life. We really want to keep tobacco out of the hands of young people.”
Trading Standards Service Co-ordinator, Tony Cairns, added: “West Dunbartonshire Trading Standards has worked over several years with health and education partners, as well as the police, on a number of initiatives designed to ensure that sellers of tobacco meet their legal obligations and our citizens are fully aware of the issues around smoking. We are delighted to participate in this national campaign and lend our further support to the fight to prevent young people from getting hooked on tobacco.”
It is illegal to sell cigarettes to anyone under 18 and research shows that adolescents get addicted to nicotine faster than adults, and so find it harder to escape the health problems and financial costs from smoking.
The Not A Favour campaign is being backed locally with posters, flyers and on-street marketing, as well as a social media hashtag of #notafavour
Full details on the campaign and the risks of smoking can be found online at www.ashscotland.org.uk